Algae - the other green meat

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Consumers really want to eat more algae, says an advocate at the Solazyme corporation, which makes, you guessed it, products from algae, like cooking oil and...meat.

Okay, not literally meat, but Solazyme believes algae can be a vegan alternative for meat, and can even taste like bacon, and since it has a carbon footprint comparable to rice and soy, this tasty treat will enable vegans to claim that they can spare animals and solve global warming and tell us all about it. As the saying among food technologists goes, 'No one ever quietly went on a vegan diet.'

Of course, the complex proteins in meat are not replaced as easily as vegans believe, but when it comes to simple proteins algae can do quite well. Algae are not the Miracle Superfood (© The Dr. Oz Show, 2009-2015) some claim, nor will it cure AIDS, as other claims, but Spirulina is a fun word to say and it doesn't sound icky and chemical-y the way Chlorella does, so you have choices if you really want to eat algae.

If you don't want to get into the Team Chlorella versus Team Spirulina thing - really, it is so 2013 - hipsters from Brooklyn to Michigan are raving about a pseudocereal that peasants in Bolivia only consume when they are too poor to afford real food: quinoa. It is also vegan and has the bonus of being sustainable because the bitter-tasting saponins make it taste so awful even birds won't touch the stuff. However, we must warn you, because health food pundits will not: It is a processed food. You just won't see that on the label of the recyclable salad pouch Millennials buy it in.

If pouches are not your thing, there are plenty of other containers for quinoa, thanks to its popularity. 1,400 products and counting says Laurie Scanlin, who even got a U.S. patent for "Quinoa Protein Concentrate, Production, and Functionality". Good luck getting out of a San Francisco restaurant without being told you should try it.

The final benefit of quinoa is that no one knows how to say it, so you get to correct other people when they botch the pronunciation. Then you can ironically note that phonetic is spelled with a 'ph.'

As a final benefit for the vegan conscious, algae and quinoa are not GMOs so The Non-GMO Project can run the credit card and stick a label on it for manufacturers without anyone worrying if they know the difference between a vegetable and a mineral, like when they put a non-GMO label on rock salt.

Non-GMO rock salt. Yes, they are serious. Credit and link: MNN and Shea Gunther's friend Jes, who took the picture.

Algae may not seem like it is ideal for a human diet but it is certainly better than the first green meat environmentalists warned us was coming in the 1960s:

soylent green